Noah: The Person and the story in history and traditionLloyd R. Bailey (Columbia, SC: Univ. of South Carolina, 1989) 243 pp., $26.95 ($13.95 in paperback)
Joseph and his family: A literary studyW. Lee Humphreys (Columbia, SC: Univ. of South Carolina, 1988) 230 pp., $24.95
When I heard of the series “Personalities of the Old Testament,” to which these books belong, I was initially very skeptical. After all, how much can we know about such figures as Noah and Joseph, who according to biblical chronology lived over three millenia ago? Furthermore, the Bible itself tends not to be interested in “personalities” in the same way we are; it is a much more didactic book than the contemporary genre of biography, My initial reservations were quickly allayed, however, as these books do not actually deal with biblical personalities, but with biblical units and traditions. These excellent volumes concerning the biblical accounts of Noah and Joseph are especially well suited to the educated lay person for whom they are intended, because they accurately and interestingly convey the intricacies of biblical scholarship.